Healthy Habits for Haulers: Unlocking the Benefits of Quality Sleep

If you think about a healthy lifestyle, what comes to mind first? Maybe you think about your diet or getting regular exercise. Do you take time to think about your sleep schedule as well? Sleep is just as important to your health as diet and exercise. So, let’s look a little deeper at this vital activity from the trucking perspective.

What Happens If You Don’t Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is when your body takes time to repair itself. It’s also when your mind processes the sensory input of the day and cements long-term memory. When you don’t get enough sleep you may notice,

  • Slower reactions
  • Cloudy thinking
  • Mood shifts
  • High blood pressure
  • Increased appetite
  • Weight gain
  • Poorer immune response

Sleeping for Your Safety

As you can see from the results of lack of sleep, getting the rest you need is important to your job as a driver. Trucking is a demanding job, requiring long hours and sharp reaction time. On the road, you need to monitor your own speed and driving, the condition of your vehicle and your load, and the vehicles around you on the road.

Your off-road time is a time for catching up on the minutiae of being an owner-operator. It is also a time to rest and relax. It is not, however, when you should “catch up on sleep.” To ensure a healthy sleep routine, it’s important that you maintain good sleeping habits while you’re on the road, especially when you’re driving long hauls.

Healthy Habits for Haulers: Unlocking the Benefits of Quality Sleep

Creating Your On-The-Road Sleep Routine

It’s important that you create a good environment where you can get the sleep you need while you’re on the road. When driving overnight, improve your sleep time by,

  • Finding a safe place to stop and sleep. Make sure that the place you stop offers you safety with enough quiet to sleep.
  • Keep out light with curtains, truck shades, or an eye mask.
  • Use ear plugs or create “white noise” with a fan to help block out noise from outside.
  • Put your phone on silent and assign a special ringtone for anyone you should be able to reach you in an emergency.
  • Keep your cab temperature cool (the fan for white noise will help!).
  • Make sure you have a comfortable mattress for your sleeper so that you can get comfortable.

Prepare for Sleep

It’s important to get about 7-9 hours of sleep each day. Take time to note your body’s patterns for when you’re tired and want to sleep and plan your stops and breaks so that you can give yourself the time you need for sleep. If you’re able to sleep at or close to the same time each night while you’re on the road, you improve the rest you receive from sleep. It’s also easier to get to sleep when you lie down.

When it’s time to sleep, give yourself a routine that you can follow off-road and on the road. Some things to remember as you establish a routine include,

  • Avoiding:
    • Heavy and spicy meals within 2-3 hours of going to bed
    • Liquids close to bedtime (especially alcohol)
    • Caffeine within 5 hours of going to bed
    • Nicotine and other stimulants
    • Electronics like your smart phone or tablet when you lie down to sleep
  • Including,
    • Explain to family, friend, and your dispatch team that you’re establishing a sleep routine and ensure they don’t disturb you
    • Create a relaxing routine within an hour before bedtime to signal to your brain that sleep is coming. Personal hygiene like brushing your teeth and dressing for sleep are important. Reading a book or listening to relaxing music is a good idea as well.
Healthy Habits for Haulers: Unlocking the Benefits of Quality Sleep

Top View Of African American Man Sleeping Embracing Pillow Lying In Bed In Modern Bedroom Indoor. Millennial Guy Napping Resting At Home. Healthy Sleep Concept

Do you have a sleep disorder?

Sleep disorders like sleep apnea and insomnia are common for everyone, including truckers. If you’re spending the 7-9 recommended hours in bed, but experiencing the following, contact your doctor.

  • Takes more than 30 minutes to fall asleep
  • You awaken several times or for long periods
  • You take frequent naps
  • You feel sleepy during times you should be awake

Fortunately, sleep disorders are manageable. Getting the care you need and changing your routine to work with your body’s needs ensures that you can get the rest you need and stay on the road.

Stay on the Road with REY Logistics

Let REY Logistics help you stay up-to-date on industry news and changes and manage your trucking business. If you’re an owner-operator on your own or in charge of a full fleet, contact us today to see how our solutions can enhance your business.


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